Last week Desha and I led the Second Annual Scootour of Lights and decorating contest with the Austin Scooter Club. Even Mother Nature seemed to help with the plans, as she gave us perfect weather with temps in the fifties.
The fun began with a scooter decorating contest, door prizes, and dinner at Titaya’s. Most everyone decorated their rides, and there was fierce competition for the top three places! Desha was in charge of the contest and worked hard to find some scooter-loving businesses that were more than generous. Thanks to Austin City Powersports for a free oil and filter change, Austin Vespa for a chrome front rack, leather gloves and T-shirts, Urban Moto for a Givi messenger bag, and Genuine Joe’s for a gift certificate.
Ride-leader duties trump picture-taking duties, so I’m sorry to say I didn’t get pictures of the top three — although the winner is shown in the video (link at bottom of the page). It’s the Buddy with moving reindeer antlers and rear basket full of stuffed animals.
You can always find fabulous Christmas displays in Austin, but this year lights seemed to be fewer and farther between. Our route meandered through what I call old Central Austin, down along Lake Austin, and back up to Twelfth Street. The route was complicated (42 turns) as we weaved in and out of the various neighborhoods; but it all went without a hitch, thanks to Garmin and Scala Rider communicators that enabled me to receive progress reports from Desha, who was riding tailgunner 16 scooters back.
One of the highlights was the home of Willis and Cathy Littlefield. They’ve been decorating and handing out candy canes for many years and are featured on all the maps of must-see Christmas lights. Because of this, literally hundreds of cars drive by and part of the street is blocked off. Mr. Littlefield loves having the scooters (Who doesn’t?), he always looks forward to having us stop by, advertises our arrival time, and gives us special permission to park in the driveway and street.
It’s a splendid show, complete with snow-making machine — especially amazing when you realize they take it down each night and set it up again the next afternoon. (Theft problem a few years ago.) You can walk around and they even let the little children touch and “play with” the various displays.
Here are the Littlefields with their hallmark candy canes and Cowboys Santa hats and a few pictures to give you an idea of what it’s like at their place.
By this point it was getting late and some of our group had to head for home. The rest of us went by Austin Java for hot chocolate and desert to prepare for the grand finale of 37th Street. (Everyone simply says 37th Street, but it includes 35th Street and Home Lane.) The lights on 37th Street have dwindled since its glory days several years back when it received national attention, but plenty of houses still participate with irreverent, quirky, keep-Austin-weird displays.
Here are my favorites from this year – sock-monkey manger scene and tyrannosaurus rox (giant guitar). You can’t get any more Austin than that!
The video does a much better job than this blog post of bringing the ride to life. If your computer has trouble playing it, click on the HD in the bottom right-hand corner of the movie screen to turn off the High Definition. It also might be helpful to let the movie load for a few minutes before you begin playing.
Peace on the Road!